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Fashola tasks builders on innovative techniques 

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze (Abuja) and Victor Gbonegun (Lagos)
02 December 2019   |   3:41 am
The Federal government has urged professionals in the built industry to develop new skills for the promotion of innovative building techniques that are anchored on indigenous building materials.

Wife of the President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) Mrs. Sade Awobodu; NIOB President, Kunle Awobodu; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; and immediate Past NIOB president, Kenneth Nduka during the investiture of Awobodu as the 20th president in Abuja.

The Federal government has urged professionals in the built industry to develop new skills for the promotion of innovative building techniques that are anchored on indigenous building materials. 

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola who spoke at the investiture of the 20th President of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) at the weekend in Abuja, charged them to fine-tune current regulatory instruments and arrest quackery, punish professional recklessness and reward excellence in the industry.

He said that the built industry in many instances has been criticised for its generally lackluster performance, tendencies to overshoot timelines, overrun budgets and underperform as a production entity. 

“This explains why this industry or sector is often neglected by policymakers who are suspicious of its capacity to drive economic growth. I have known from personal experience and from my adventures in public service that the construction sector is a veritable pilot of national prosperity.”

He noted that the building and construction industry has influenced the modern world in marked ways and is responsible for millions of jobs contributing significantly to Gross Domestic Products in most countries.

He further said that the capacity of the construction sector to create jobs is equally very visible in roads and highway development as hordes of artisans, technicians, and semi-skilled workers are invariably absorbed into different aspects of civil works targeted at construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of roads.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, challenged Nigerian builders to come up with building construction innovation that would not only stand the test of time but would also be suitable for the tropical weather conditions in Nigeria.

Aregbesola wondered why Nigerian builders have not successfully replicated in today’s Nigeria the concepts of the precolonial buildings which served Nigerians so well.

He further lamented that the quality of building materials used in today’s buildings are not suitable for Nigeria weather conditions. He observed that for instance, the corrugated roofing sheets widely used in Nigeria easily yield to the elements; becoming rusted due to the tropical sunshine.

The Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Hakeem Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the Deputy Chairman House Committee on Urban Development and Regional Planning, Hon. Ibrahim Almustapha Aliyu pledged to accelerate the enabling Act for the enforcement of the National Building Code to address the building collapse crisis in the built environment.

In his address, the new President of NIOB, Kunle Awobodu urged the federal government to ensure that only those licensed to manage building production and construction operations in the sector in order to check substandard building construction in the country. 

Awobodu noted that buildings are major barometer of a nation’s physical development, adding that the quality of such buildings if not compromised, will add to the value of a nation’s investment. 

Awobodu who expressed the commitment of the Institute to develop competent builders said it will be counter-productive for the growth of the construction industry if competent builders are not engaged. 

Also speaking, immediate past President of the Institute, Kenneth Nduka said that NIOB has been led to play a major role towards the formation of the Construction Industry Development Board.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Institute of Building (NIOB) has urged the federal government to consider the inputs of practitioners in housing projects in the country.

The group stated that one of the key drivers of growth is habitable and quality homes for the citizens, hence, housing delivery for the populace should be the sole responsibility of the professionals in the built environment.

In a communiqué issued at the end of its yearly builders conference organized by the Lagos state chapter, the chairman, conference organising committee, Sunday Wusu, advised government that the core competence of the building profession should be protected with standards in all aspects of the project including, construction, procurement, and building design to eliminate quackery.

Wusu harped on the need for the federal government to implement the Public Procurement Act in line with the globally accepted standard that is based on efficiency and safety in the construction sector.

“The PPA lays emphasis on competence, appropriate pricing, structure funding, usage of standard and quality materials. Procurement is beyond buying and selling. A budget is required, an understanding of procurement needed including the regulations guiding the building profession”.

According to NIOB, public procurement should stem from a needs assessment that is driven by government developmental agenda and societal requirements, which are required for sustainability development goals.

The group warned that bribery, meritocracy, and corruption should not be synonymous with construction and engineering works rather, honesty and patriotism should be embedded in the procurement process.

“Every professional in housing industry should be conversant with the rules and regulations guiding procurement and building project production. There is urgency to review and re-establish appropriate business models that are in tune with transformation in the industry.”, it stated.

“ There is a need to amend our laws especially those relating to housing to face current challenges and develop a think-thank that develops a methodology that is localised. ”

NIOB also urged government, professional bodies and allied stakeholders to resolve to do the right thing in the industry to mitigate challenges facing the housing sector.